Your One-Liner Childhood

Today I read a funny and fascinating article by Richard Paddock called One-Liner Childhoods. The author recounted how he and his friends could easily sum up their growing years in one line that began “My Mom is so Berkeley …”. The concept became so popular that it spawned a Facebook group with over 1,150 members called “Your Mom is So Berkeley”.

Some examples …

For Halloween one year, she handed out bananas. YIGA JOSAYMA

She grounded me for eating McDonald’s but not for smoking weed. JED BROWN

She made us drink lumpy, instant nonfat powdered milk to protect us from radioactive fallout from above-ground nuclear testing. RACHEL BLAU

The first time I saw a bowl of table grapes I had a panic attack. KOKO MULDER

She used to volunteer in my classroom wearing men’s work boots. ANNELISE LOE

So this got me thinking. Can we all summarize our childhoods in a single catchy line, even if we don’t share the iconic Berkeley experience? Here’s what resonates for my family of origin …

“My Mom is so eccentric …”

She would never consider driving a German car (payback for the Holocaust), and felt it was her responsibility to buy Japanese as some small repayment for dropping the bomb.

Our wake up call each morning was King of the Road by Roger Miller, piped into our bedrooms on the intercom at full volume.

Her worst insult? “It was like being in a room full of accountants“.

She and her friends stole away in the middle of the night to dig up the Korean War Memorial on the lawn of the local elementary school. The police were not amused.

After we all left home she moved to Santa Fe because the light was fantastic. Enough said.

Though voter registration skipped her mind in ’92, she was determined to cast a ballot for Bill Clinton. So she ‘borrowed’ from a friend who was out of the country. Can you spell f-e-l-o-n-y?

When I broke the news that I planned to go to medical school there was a pregnant pause. Then she asked “Really? Why?”

Now fast-forward a few years. What do you imagine your kids will say when asked for a one line description of their childhoods?

“My Mom is so loving …”?

“My Mom is so uptight …”?

“My Mom is so hyper …”?

“My Mom is so competitive …”?

“My Mom is so wacky …”?

“My Mom is so competent …”?

“My Mom is so busy …”?

There are so many possibilities … tell us your thoughts!



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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


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